hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Quiet Times

I  really NEVER thought my soul would feel anything but pain since my dear child Jay suddenly passed away last January. However, after over a year the emotions,while on VERY high alert, have softened. My hope is that anyone who reads this NEVER feels the hurt, I feel every moment of every day. I also hope if anyone who reads this has suffered such a loss, I can provide you with some level of comfort.

NEVER will I be the same.What I am currently, is someone navigating through territory I did not want to be in. I am not tired, I am not weary, I am just in a continuous state of searching. At first I sought an answer to ,”why“. After I discovered no explanation would make sense or give me solace. Then I wanted to know, ” how“. How could I go on, how could I be happy and what was happy anymore. Questions with inadequate answers, that is what I have been living with since my Jay simply stopped being.

Life goes on all around you and eventually, you come back to a state where you appear to be what the outside world see as NORMAL or OKAY. You really are not; you now have the physical appearance of what makes others feel comfortable. The internal battles ARE forever, but you have soft moments and quiet times.

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Loss- Losing It

Every now and then the “crazy” surfaces, makes it’s presence known, takes over. I don’t always know it either. I  find myself drifting off. I feel like my son is leaving me all over again and I am grabbing at anything to keep me tethered to him and his memory. I think I feel like I am letting things (NOT HIM) go slowly; I don’t think I am supposed to, and I don’t consciously WANT to.

I scrolled through my phone messages from him..some of the last ones. Since I am NOT so tech savvy I had to save these words/messages the best way I could. I did screenshots. I will print them out and put them with the other items I have carefully stored in the designated cedar chest. The last ones are from Jessica(his lady/his love/my new-now daughter) from the hospital and they came after what I would later find out, was after he had been pronounced.

The room is not exactly as he left it, but there are things I have not moved. I think of the irony..the only Christmas decorations that will be in this house this year are the ones HE left behind in his room. I tell myself I am not as strange as some folks are, but I am lying to myself. I am as fucking strange and weird as they come, and many times I don’t care what you think of me. That is not mean or rude, it is real.

As I navigate through each day something will make me think of my child who is no longer with me and I WILL cry. I may not cry long, but I will hurt and the tears will flow. Sometimes I imagine myself screaming, or cowering in a corner, or collapsing to the ground. I ask myself will any of these particular acts bring me closer to closure or solace, then I ask how can I ever suggest I will EVER have those things in regards to my son as long as I live on this Earth. Each day I am learning to live a life I did not plan for, and one I do NOT want.

I want my son back..I know I cannot have him, but that does NOT change how I feel.

CHRISTMAS WONT BE THE SAME THIS YEAR

Do you know that song? The Jackson Five did it back in 1970..YouTube it. It may give you a smile or two. Admittedly it did for me, somewhat. It also made me aware of a reality; it is a self professing one but one just the same. A holiday I love(d) and cherished, no longer feels that way. The tinsel is tarnished and gray. The lights have flickered out.  The sights, sounds, and aromas have faded. All that remains are questions, indifference, and maybe a bit of fear.

Questions like What will I do this year, How will I feel, Do I want to decorate and celebrate with happy people, Will I stay at home in a house void of decorations and possibly make sadness more at home with me?

Indifference…What does any of what I feel or experience matter, I have been dealt a blow..a blow I will NEVER get over. When I look at decorations that are out far too early, there is a feeling of emptiness. I am no longer looking for ideas to bring the beauty of Christmas into my home.

Fear that I will become that old person, who does not decorate or celebrate. Which in turn will likely make me sadder and speed up my actual aging process. Who wants to be around that.

What’s the plan? Every year for the past 25,  Thanksgiving marked the beginning of my Christmas process. Intermittently we would have a big dinner but mostly it was football, pajamas, and me decorating the house and the tree(s). I now must deal with how to do or NOT do Thanksgiving which makes my Christmas dilemma even more intense.

I thought of leaving town and escape all that is familiar and normal, but I realize there is no escaping life. If I stay in this country, the holidays will come no matter WHERE I am. Even if I travel outside the country, places I would consider, all celebrate Christmas. Where do I run to, how can I hide? Is it possible to change my attitude ?

As difficult as this will be for me, I want more than anything else for people I love and care about to enjoy that fabulous holiday. If I cross your mind and I make you sad, please think of someone or something else. For I am here to tell you, I do NOT want my sadness to  be yours. There is no guess work here; whatever December 25th brings me, I want my loved ones to have the best holiday season possible.

Watching The Process, Being Distracted and Missing The Point

The Polls are open here in Georgia and it is rainy. I wonder how many will use the weather as an excuse NOT to get out and vote?

As an African American Woman this political process is near-and-dear to my heart. At 59 I have watched my world in these United States of America change, evolve, leap forward, and fall backwards. However, I still have always voted since I became of age.  WHY? Well my family was not extraordinarily political, but they did vote. I suppose I was affected by what I saw during and after the Civil Rights Movement and I did not realize how much  I was affected, until I was actually able to exercise my right to vote.

The images of people being attacked by dogs, washed away with fire hoses, beaten by mobs of civilians and law enforcement ARE permanently and indelibly etched  into my mind. Those people fought the “good fight” many paid the ultimate price. However, they made a decision, a decision that let the world know injustice can only be successful when there is lack of knowledge. They decided that life is valuable but the value is diminished when you are held down and taken advantage of. They decided they had a choice and in those times it may be life or death. They said they want a life worth living, not just an existence. As horrible as things were at that time, one might say they had no real choice. I ask of this generation, this society, what is your excuse?

YOU who have reaped the benefits of those who fought the fight. YOU live in comfort, with minimal fear of what was YOUR ancestors reality. Have YOU forgotten THEM. Wait look around you. Young black men ARE being murdered right before our very eyes, sometimes the powers that be give excuses as they acquit them or look the other way, but that is how it starts. Voter suppression is alive and well, not a poll tax but”incorrect or questionable registrations”  deemed so by a candidate who stands to gain the governorship(and ironically runs the elections) and in spite of two separate court rulings by judges, against his so-called findings. RIGHT HERE IN OUR FACES. YOU don’t have time, it does not concern YOU directly, or YOU think the unthinkable “It could NOT happen to me”. Yet, it could and it is.

As you gaze out the window admiring the view from your high-rise condo, you are missing the condemned signs across the street and the widows being boarded up below you, metaphorically speaking. Many who were on the front-lines are no longer with us; we haven’t the benefit of someone else paving our way, we now must get behind the wheel of progress and drive.

Please GO VOTE, if you haven’t already. YOUR VOTE DOES COUNT!

 

“Periwinkle” Has To Go!

Dear Disney.. and Precious Moments. I am writing to you to protest the  Happy Birthday Train. It features Disney Princess from Snow White to Merida. Problem is someone is left out. Can you guess who..yep once gain Tiana did NOT make the cut. How and why does this keep happening?  12 opportunities for a princess spot on the train and Tiana gets sidetracked by two “fairies (Tinkerbell and Periwinkle).

I have to be honest the working princess story line was NOT my favorite; along with the fact that she ultimately ends up marrying a guy who does not look like her or share her ethnicity ( he was however brown). Once again we have to be grateful for “slim-pickins”. Earlier this year it was”leaked” Tiana was getting new skin and hair permed for her cameo in “Wreck-it Ralph 2”. The outcry was so loud that Disney went back in and made Tiana look like she did in HER film. The African American Princess we have come to know and LOVE!

I started on my mission. I promptly called Disney(and had Precious Moments on my list to call next). It may seem small and insignificant but where does our sense of self-esteem begin?  I will give you a “for-instance”I have a granddaughter and she is beautiful, brown and sports NATURAL hair.  I however wore my hair straight and chemically processed for 30+ years. Yet, I kept her hair in braids for ease as well as beauty. One occasion I requested her(now our) stylist leave part of her hair out in a puffy bun. It was gorgeous! I told her how pretty she was and how good her hair looked.

One weekend she spent with me she asked me to twist her hair up. I asked her did she like her hair. She responded “Yes but I just want it twisted.” I read much more into”yes but”. I thought of how OUR stylist over the course of 2+ years once asked if I ever though about going natural?” Without a pause I promptly answered,”No.”  Me who constantly commented on how good natural hair looked on other women, me who constantly spoke of how wonderful it was for black women NOT to be forced to wear OUR hair in a fashion that made “others comfortable or how we were no longer relegated to “other’s” standard of beauty.  As I twisted my little granddaughters hair I though of what Addison saw everyday. Her mother’s hair was in a straighten style but it was natural, her other grandmother wore her hair straight and me  her “Abuela” straight as possible with no curl.  Again where does self-esteem start, what message was this little girl reading?

3 years this year since I got off what is fondly known as “creamy-crack”. Do I miss it? NO! What do I love. I love getting out of bed and my hair is the LAST thing I have to worry about. I love rainy/drizzly weather and walking past women getting their umbrellas into position. I love driving with my windows down. What does this have to do with the Birthday Train ? Well it has to do with perceptions and self esteem. One MUST be happy with oneself for that sense of self to be positive. So Disney I love you BUT I love being brown-skinned with hair that is not necessarily straight unless I choose for it to be. There are MILLIONS of little girls who look like me and need to know they are fabulous JUST AS THEY ARE! Leave Tiana alone looks-wise, but don’t exclude her because she looks different. Hell, Ariel has a TAIL!

LOSS-Vilomah

“As the gray-haired should NOT bury those with black-hair”

During your life have you ever done something you really did not want to do? I already know the answer. Be it apologize for something you really did not feel you did wrong, or have a meal with someone you really didn’t like; something inside of you  or outward conditions put you in that spot. You were left with an option though, even if/ even considering the consequences and/or outcome.

I wish I could write things are better, things are getting easier but I cannot.  A few short months into this HORROR I have learned many things, and many are NOT what you would call good. However, they are sources of knowledge and what is knowledge if not shared.

VILOMAH.  It is a word of the Sanskirt language as is the word widow. Translated  VILOMAH means against natural order…  VILOMAH describes what is now my life. VILOMAH speaks a different language that most of the time, only the unfortunate members of this tribe understand. A simple question,” Are you better?”no longer has a one or two word response. Feelings and emotions(happy;smiles) which are already faceted and complex, reach an entirely different level. ALL life will change, but my life has already changed into something I did NOT  want, I did NOT imagine, and I CANNOT escape. However, I now know my new role has a name. With that name came a great deal of sense and understanding. My change will never change. The widow can remarry, the orphan can be adopted. My status, my identity shall always be for all my days, VILOMAH.  I am not merely VILOMAH, I am other things as well. Yet by fate, by chance, by divine plan; I must “embrace” VILOMAH,  for it IS a part of me and I have no choice.

Laugh, Dream, LIVE

My goodness, seemingly every other day you are buying a lottery ticket. My eyes role upwards to indicate my sarcasm and disdain. I shake my head in disapproval and disbelief, but it is your money. Vacationing in the Swiss Alps, I say are you kidding me, nuthin up there for me.  Precisely!

As we venture deeper into this half-century mark and beyond, the changes become more and more evident, we are NOT like those who explored life in this era before us. We are not even like our old selves. Change no matter how we resist it, comes. We shall be Sexagenarians before we know it, and if we are fortunate.

Try not to focus on the negative, mind you this is not an infomercial or plug for positive thinking. I am NOT qualified, I can only tell you what I have seen and lived in first person. Others have unique experiences and perhaps those experience may make them ascribe to the positive-thinking philosophy. I only say that being negative or critical or suspect only gives you a perspective that matches your mood. If you do NOT do something to counteract this you will be swept into the whirlpool of the “downers”. No one wants to be a part of that community.

To the travelers, mountain climbers, and surfers; I say do these things and get your fill! To the players of games, sports, or chance;  I say do you someone IS going to win! I still scream with excitement as I ride my favorite roller-coasters. I am charmed by my little acrobat as she finds some other reason to be soaring towards the atmosphere.

LAUGH because it is good for you and those around you, DREAM because “dreaming is a form of planning” and LIVE your lives accordingly.

Reciprocate Whenever Possible

One of my wise dear friends once told me,” People will not always give you what you give them”.  Sometimes we get disappointed by the people who are in our lives. Family and friends not quite living up to your expectation, disregarding or taking advantage of you. I think we all can be a bit unreasonable and demanding. Our high expectations that are preceded by unspoken requirements lead to such disappointments. Then we are upset when these people we love and care about don’t do what we think they should. Our feeling of, “it’s only natural/or naturally” is unreasonable many times. You have to give folks the benefit of the doubt.

While you don’t want to have to constantly TELL individuals exactly what is on your mind, you also don’t want to instantly deduce them overlooking something is mean-spirited or insensitive. As members of the human race we are afforded a couple of flubs..daily. We have  to remind ourselves that maybe we make someone we love and care about feel the exact same way we are feeling in the now. It may NOT be the same loved one you are feeling neglected by either.

All of us have to do things, say things, fix things for one another. Know that those constant, regular payouts may never be reciprocated in volume or intensity.  Take slow deep breaths, give yourself a chance to gather up your feelings and regroup. As you give yourself a chance to look at your particular situation, yield to the issue you are dealing with knowing this does not mean the individual on the other side has emotions that are any less heartfelt.

Do Over

Ah yet another racist comment ends the career of another high profile being. This time it’s good-ole John Schnatter of “Papa John’s Pizza”. Wow this guy as with most of the others who got caught with their”pants down” , demonstrates what an apologetic burglar or murderer exhibits after their conviction..SORRY, SO SORRY; THEY GOT CAUGHT! When is this country going to learn that just because you can does NOT mean you should?

45, the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, fosters hate, deceit, and anger. The saddest part about that is, others who do not buy into his philosophies or practices are still subjected to them.  You lie, you are proven to be a liar and you deny or ignore. You say or do insensitive things, then you ask to be forgiven or overlook that bad thing I got caught saying or doing because it does not reflect how I really feel, who I really am…

How about this;

DON’T SAY OR DO THESE UGLY THINGS and then you don’t have to have vicious TRUTHS thrown in your face!

In adult world, there are no “do-overs” if there were I think many of us would be in that line for one reason or another. I love the 1970’s because we as a society had a “happy face” shown to us daily and it did not take long for us to embrace that sunny yellow smile. We were pleasant to one another(or we tried to be) , it was not looked down on because you cared how someone else felt. Today we have an orange frown shoved in our faces and we are seeing the damage it can do/is doing. We, who do NOT abide by the new standard 45 and his administration demonstrate, MUST fight and fight hard so it is a known fact we will NOT tolerate, INTOLERANCE. These types MUST be made to know, their ugliness is more of the exception than the rule.

LOSS-Everybody Needs Attention

One morning as I woke and slowly prepared for my duties of the day, my dog looked at me in the needy fashion that tells me she is ready to go out and I better put some urgency to it. I handled her and came back inside hoping to sit and just be… alas she is feeling good and relieved, it is time to play. Then I became aware that other daily duties needed to commence as well. I tossed her the ball for a few minutes hoping she would tire soon. She is such a sweet, cute, fun, lively dog, I wanted to tell her as I looked deep into her eyes,” Tiana, I am trying to be sad here.”

My family needs me. I have an ailing spouse to look after, meals to prepare, a house that needed attention(cleaning and such), a business to maintain, and another job I had to prepare for in the evening. I realized I am doing/trying to do waaay to much. However, that has been the case for sometime now. I was able to manage before though. Life forces us to keep moving forward, even when we do not want to. Sometimes you cry your way through a task, but you get through it just the same. The formula for the next task; you get up, throw yourself into overdrive, and you keep moving.  Exhaustion tries to take over and flex it’s muscle, you do not relinquish anything. People look at you and wonder how you do it. Funny thing is you wonder too.

As I struggle through, living through this horrible, horrible thing called LOSS one thing  I can tell you is this; sometimes you just don’t want to be “bothered”. You are NOT yourself; you have a hard time understanding who you are and why you are. You would love to have help, comfort, understanding but the one thing you truly want and need… NO ONE is able to provide you with. That is not to say the efforts are not admirable, appreciated, or welcomed..it is merely explaining a person in the midst of the storms of loss and grief are just not in the same consciousness as others are, at many times.

As I write this I warn the loved ones who remain around us not to give up, the person you know IS forever changed, but there are remnants that are right below the surface of that being you once knew, struggling/trying to come back to you. If you give up and walk away, they may be lost to you forever.  Keep calling, texting, stopping by…we want you with us; we just don’t want to bore you with OUR TROUBLES.

 

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